Specialist from Memorial Şişli Hospital Internal Medicine Department. Dr. Yeliz Zıhlı Kızak gave information about dehydration. Dr. Sledge gave information about dehydration:
“Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. It can occur as a result of insufficient fluid intake and nutrition, kidney diseases, diabetes, diarrhea and excessive sweating. Along with the lost fluid, disturbances occur in the balance of mineral salts or electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium. Failure to replace the lost water can cause serious problems in the body. Particular attention should be paid to dehydration, which can develop without noticing, especially in the summer months, and can be seen with excessive sweating and insufficient fluid intake.
The body loses 2,5 liters of water throughout the day.
About 65% of an adult's body weight consists of water. Water is found inside cells, inside blood vessels, and between cells. Under normal conditions, the body loses approximately 2-2,5 liters of water per day and this amount must be re-entered into the body. Water often leaves the body through sweat, urine and feces. If these losses cannot be compensated by daily fluid consumption, dehydration occurs and the body cannot perform its normal functions. Dehydration is divided into 3 groups as mild, moderate and severe according to the amount of fluid lost. Mild dehydration is common and is usually caused by insufficient fluid intake throughout the day. Dehydration due to diarrhea is common in children. In severe dehydration, more sodium is lost than water. In this type of dehydration, hyponatremia may develop. Hyponatremia is when the sodium level in the blood is less than 135 mEq/L.
There are many causes of dehydration.
Malnutrition and insufficient fluid intake: A healthy person should consume an average of 2-2,5 liters of water per day. This amount varies depending on age, weight and daily physical activity. Not consuming as much water as the person needs daily may result in dehydration.
Vomiting and diarrhea: Acute or long-lasting chronic diarrhea, which develops severely due to some diseases, can cause a lot of water and electrolyte loss, especially if it is accompanied by vomiting. These two disorders can cause dehydration separately. Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Infants, children, the elderly, and people with eating disorders (for example, bulimia) are at higher risk of dehydration from vomiting.
Excessive sweating: Sweating and sweating is a cooling mechanism that the body uses in situations of heat, humidity and physical activity. High air temperatures cause fluid loss through sweat. Excessive sweating due to some chronic diseases such as hyperthyroidism and intense exercise creates a tendency to dehydration if sufficient fluid is not consumed. Those who live in very hot regions and have to stay in the sun are also at risk for dehydration.
High fever: In diseases where the fever is above 38 degrees, fluid loss can be seen and not replacing the fluid deficit causes dehydration. Sunburns are also a cause of dehydration as they cause fluid loss.
Diabetes: When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys increase the amount of urine to remove sugar from the body, causing fluid loss.
Kidney diseases: In diseases where the daily urine amount increases, which causes the kidneys to lose their water retention feature, dehydration can be seen if adequate fluid support is not provided.
Severe dehydration is life threatening
Symptoms resulting from dehydration vary according to the severity of fluid loss. In mild dehydration, weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, feeling thirsty, skin dryness, decrease in urine amount, constipation are observed. In severe dehydration cases, complaints such as general condition disorder, confusion, drop in blood pressure, darkening in the eyes, dizziness, headache and palpitation develop. Severe dehydration is a serious life-threatening emergency.
Treatment is shaped according to the degree and cause of dehydration.
The aim is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. In the treatment of mild and moderate dehydration, patients are provided with adequate fluid intake. In cases with diarrhea, vomiting and excessive fluid loss through the kidneys, the oral fluid is insufficient and fluids containing electrolytes are given intravenously. In cases of severe dehydration with fainting, loss of consciousness or other serious findings, immediate intervention is required. By evaluating the electrolyte status of the patients, the fluid deficiency is replaced by intravenous route using fluids containing balanced electrolytes.
Babies, children and the elderly are at risk
Dehydration can happen to anyone, but some people are at higher risk. Those most at risk are:
- Infants, children, and the elderly because of their response to thirst or their inability to access water.
- People living at high altitudes
- Athletes who do endurance sports, especially marathons, triathlons and cycling tournaments,
- People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, and adrenal gland disorders are at greater risk for dehydration.”